A CFR expert on nuclear issues, Paul Lettow says President Obama's agenda will be heavily tilted toward nuclear issues in 2010. He says this is "the ideal moment for strong American leadership on these issues," and despite Obama's disappointment in not wrapping up a new START treaty by the end of the year, Lettow expects the treaty to be signed in early 2010.
If the Obama administration has any hope of reducing the world's nuclear arsenals, the U.S. government will have to assuage the fears of nonnuclear states, diminish the prestige of nuclear weapons, and address the risk of proliferation posed by civilian nuclear energy programs.
George R. Perkovich interviewed by Bernard Gwertzman
A leading arms control expert, George Perkovich says Iranian domestic disputes have apparently doomed its agreement to ship processed uranium out of the country. The UN Security Council, he says, must be prepared to increase pressure on the regime.
CFR's Iran expert Ray Takeyh says Washington's Iran policy needs to frame the nuclear development question within the context of a broader range of diplomatic issues, and that Iran's domestic turmoil hinders negotiations on its nuclear program.
Asia policy expert Michael Green says the Obama administration is taking a cautious approach to any bilateral talks on North Korea's denuclearization, noting Pyongyang's backsliding after the Bush administration adopted a softer tone.
Following the high-level U.S.-Iran talks, Iran expert John Limbert says it is possible that the way is being cleared for an eventual long-term dialogue between the two nations but nonetheless urges caution in elevating expectations.
The issue at the heart of Iran's approach to negotiations, argues Alastair Crooke, is not the nuclear program itself, but whether the United States and Israel are ready to accept Iran as a preeminent power in the Middle East.